Three Things Thursday

Its the first Thursday of the month, so it’s time for three things…

…that light up, play music, and get you wet.

On a holiday in Paris in 2004 I went to spend an afternoon sightseeing in the gardens at the Palace of Versailles. This was my first experience of really grand fountains, built for show. From the stunning Apollo fountain – innocuous when still, a paean to furious motion when in full flow – to the full grand finale in the Basin of Neptune, the combination of fountains and music filled me with joy.

In Barcelona with a group of friends in 2008, I went to the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc shortly after sundown to witness the even more impressive ocular and auricular spectacular. A half hour of classical music, pop music, and Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé‘s famous duet and I was truly hooked on all things wet and wonderful.

Fast forward to today, and I have (examples above included) found a total of five examples of this global phenomenon, and believe me, I’m still looking, so if there’s one in your area let me know!

Thing 1 ~ The circuito magico del agua, Lima

One of the most enjoyable tourist sites I visited during my time in Lima was the Magic Water Circuit in the Parque de la Reserva, just outside the downtown area and next to the national stadium. With entry tickets priced at a few soles each, this is one of the best value-for-money tourist attractions in the city.

Every Wednesday evening the lights and fountains are turned on and the magic begins. If you come in from the gate nearest the Metropolitano station, you will begin at the grand dancing fountain, surrounded on one side by a colonnaded walkway. On my first visit, it was also the huge central stream from this fountain that helped me and my hapless visiting friend to find the entrance from the dubious backstreet we had ended up in!

From there, there is a magical pathway you can follow through the park to each of the incredible, watery constructions. Part way through, you will be diverted into an underpass to access the remaining fountains in the second part of the park, which is located across a small but busy road. The underpass is decorated with murals and factettes about Lima’s water. Sounds boring, but it’s actually interesting and even entertaining. As a capital city built on the sea at the foot of a range of mountains, Lima’s water supply is still a tricky proposition as it is also in the middle of a coastal desert. There have been various innovations to deal with it, such as the magic billboard, but it’s an ongoing struggle.

The best part of this park is the grand finale, staged twice each evening. The strains of music will alert you to the start if you’re elsewhere in the park, but it’s worth keeping an eye on the time and getting a front row position. A line of fountains sprays a high, fine mist in the air and, to the strains of the Swan theme from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, a shimmering ballerina appears in the air. The following half hour will dazzle your eyes and ears with a mixture of classical Peruvian folk music (of course accompanied by projected dancers) and pumping house (accompanied by a laser show of geometric shapes).

Dancing fountains don’t get better than this!

Thing 2 ~ Suria KLCC mall, Kuala Lumpur

On a fortuitous seven hour transit in Malaysia on the way home from my crimbo hols, I was shown around downtown KL by a friend who recently moved there. After an amazing dinner in a big street cafe in Little India, we had to head to see the Petronas Towers. It was a few days into January, so xmas decorations were still up, including the enormous tree on the main plaza. We stopped for a drink, and while sitting in the tropical night breeze I noticed music and lights behind me. Lo and behold, the fountains of the plaza were dancing!

It may not be as grand as Versailles or as spectacular as Lima, but it’s a regular lightshow and very enjoyable.

Thing 3 ~ the Rainbow bridge, Seoul

This mythical span over a busy part of the Han is said to light up, spray water and play music at very regular intervals. After 18 months living only a few kilometres down the road, I finally caught a precious sighting only last weekend.

Another entrant in the Guinness Book of World Records for Korea, this is,”the world’s longest bridge fountain.” I wasn’t aware of any other bridge fountains competing for the title, but if you live near one, please pitch in with details!

I did head down there one autumn evening last year with fellow Korea blogger Holly of Adventures with Holly (who recently nominated me for some blog lovin’ – more on that soon). We dashed across town from Hongdae to catch the evening extravaganza, only to find we’d either got the time wrong, or it had been cancelled. Disappointed, we shared some tasty red bean bingsu (Korean shaved ice and evaporated milk dessert) and went our separate ways.

This time it was midday, so the ‘rainbow’ part of the rainbow bridge did not show up against the gorgeous spring sunlight, but a kilometre of bridge fountain dancing to the latest K-pop is quite a sight in itself, I hope you’ll agree.

I’ll be going back at some point soon to catch the full effect!




2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Holly Beddome
    May 10, 2015 @ 14:15:29

    Cool! I’m glad you finally got to witness the spectacle of the rainbow bridge 😀 The one in Lima sounds wild!



    • Pieces of 8
      May 13, 2015 @ 15:39:46

      The Lima one is amazing! Actually, they all are. You really can’t beat music, lighting, and tons of water! It’s incredibly decadent, too, in this age of water austerity.



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